The Colombian has been at the heart of Everton’s attacks since he arrived in the recent transfer window, having scored three goals while setting up another three in his eight Premier League outings.


Rodriguez has earned plaudits for pulling the strings when going forward for Carlo Ancelotti’s side, but former Toffees defender Ball has admitted another key aspect of the 29-year-old’s game has caught him by surprise.



Ball heaped praise on Rodriguez for his willingness to track back whenever the Everton defence needed cover, with the 41-year-old acknowledging the Toffees new boy’s contribution to elevate the Merseyside giants’ game in every area.


However, Ball went on to stress that Everton must set up in a manner which further eases defensive responsibilities on Rodriguez that would allow the Colombian to express his creative side more.



Ball wrote in his Liverpool Echo column: “We didn’t buy James Rodriguez for his defensive qualities; we knew that before he came in.


“He has shown that side of his game at times of course, when called upon he will track back.



“I saw him track someone for 30 or 40 yards at Goodison this season, and I wasn’t expecting it to be him!


“He can do it, but we don’t necessarily want him to be doing that.


“We want him to be standing in the right areas to receive the ball and cause the opposition problems.”


Having returned to winning ways with a 3-2 victory against Fulham on Sunday in the league, the Toffees will look to register another win on the bounce at Goodison Park against Leeds United at the weekend.